Thursday was not the first time Justin Worley was told he would the University of Tennessee’s starting quarterback. And he acted like it.
“I just said ‘Thank you for the opportunity,’” Worley said Thursday, according to the UT athletics website. “He was very complimentary of my play as of late, showing that it was my job to be the leader of the offense, my job to lead the team.”
Coach Butch Jones announced Thursday that Worley would be the starter when the Volunteers open the season against Utah State, Aug. 31 at Neyland Stadium. The senior won a camp competition that included two others, sophomores Nathan Peterman and Joshua Dobbs.
It was the same decision Jones made last season following a similar battle for the spot. Similarly, the second-year coach said, Worley’s reaction was nothing new.
“Justin Worley-like fashion,” Jones said. “Not much of a smile, just ‘All right coach, let's go. We've got work to do.’ He was very business-like.
“Justin expected to be the starter and worked exceptionally hard and that's what I would expect from him.”
Worley has played 17 games with 10 starts in his first three seasons at Tennessee, which actually makes him one of the SEC’s more experienced quarterbacks at the start of this season.
Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, Texas A&M, Missouri, LSU and Vanderbilt all will have new starters or at best someone with a minimum of starting experience.
Worley knows, though, that being named starter does not mean his work his finished.
“(Jones) told me to put my head down and keep grinding,” Worley said. “Don't lose sight of the competition aspect of it and to continue the be the leader I've been.”
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